TMJ actually stands for temporomandibular joint. We all have two of these joints, one on each side of our head where our jaw bone meets our skull. TMJ dysfunction refers to any case in which the joint does not function properly or pain exists in the area.
The body functions as a closed circuit system. Changes to one area will cause a cascade of effects through the rest of the musculoskeletal system. Postural imbalances travel up and can interfere with the movement and function of the TMJ joint. In addition, circumstances in the dental system and the way teeth fit together also has a tremendous effect on the health and function of the temporomandibular joint.
Most practitioners look at the joint itself when in many cases the root cause of the pain and dysfunction is coming from somewhere else. TMJ dysfunction is typically the outcome of pelvic instability, dental occlusion, under development of the maxilla, cranial imbalances, hormonal dysfunction, and/or emotional stress. Focusing on the joint itself lends itself to stabilization at best.
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When treating a patient with temporomandibular joint dysfunction it is important to look at the whole system.
Treatment focuses on correcting imbalances in the pelvis, bite, cranium, and hormones. N.E.T. is also available to reduce emotional stress.
These imbalances can usually be traced to weakness and instability in the pelvis. The pelvis is critical for good posture and spine stabilization. Dysfunction in the pelvis quickly travels up the entire spine, into the neck, and finally into the TMJ itself.
Treatments are designed to bring balance and strength to the pelvis. This strength and stability allows the patient to maintain proper curvature in the spine and neck. This can typically be achieved in just a few visits.
Attachments at the pelvis pull on the cranium bones and can create distortions that result in dysfunction and pain. Watch the video below to learn more about skull movement.
In addition to addressing the structural origins, we work with a board certified dentists to get unsurpassed results in treating these debilitating disorders. Working together a balanced bite is achieved. Treatment might include bite adjustments (removing and re-contouring high spots and premature contacts on teeth and restorations), and/or fabrication of an occlusal (bite) splint orthotic to protect the jaw and muscles from clenching/grinding.
Other times more involved procedures are necessary including one or more of the following: orthodontics (braces) to move teeth into a more balanced and physiologic position, prosthetic solutions where restorations are placed on badly worn, broken-down, and missing restorations and teeth to restore and stabilize function and balance in the bite.